Monthly programs feature multimedia presentations given by historians who have a passion for a particular subject in the history of San Francisco. They are usually held at 7:30pm on the second Tuesday evening of each month, except for August and December. Programs are preceded by a reception at 7:00pm.

General Information

Beginning in January, 2017, monthly programs will be held at

Roosevelt Middle School Auditorium
460 Arguello Boulevard 
(between Geary and Clement/Euclid)

Programs are free to current SFMHS members. Admission for non-members is $10 per person or $5 for seniors, students, K-12 teachers, and persons with disabilities. Admission fees may be applied to membership dues within 45 days. It is not necessary to RSVP for a monthly program. Attendees are asked to check in upon arrival. As we do not issue membership cards, members' names are compared against a list of active members.

Nearby transit includes the 38-Geary and 33-Ashbury/18th St. Parking is available in the school's playground; you may enter via Palm Avenue between Geary and Euclid.

Enter the building through the doors closest to the tower.

Program dates and topics are subject to change. Please check this page for any last-minute updates.

April 2017 Program

From Orphans to Freeways: A Magical History Tour of San Francisco’s Most Celebrated Neighborhood 
Angus MacFarlane
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 7:30 PM

For the past half century, the Haight-Ashbury has been San Francisco’s “must-see, go-to” neighborhood for tourists. However, its pre-summer-of-love history is like Swiss cheese: more holes than substance. This presentation will fill many of those historic holes, as well as solve some historic mysteries, such as whom Haight Street was really named after.

Angus MacFarlane grew up in the then-anonymous Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. His interests include San Francisco history and nineteenth-century San Francisco baseball history. He has written several articles that were published in The Argonaut.

May 2017 Program

Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World 
Lynn Downey
May 9, 2017 - 7:30 PM

The name Levi Strauss is synonymous with San Francisco, but in the century and more since his death, myths surrounding his life and the invention of jeans have obscured the truth about his life. Born in Bavaria and schooled in the dry goods business in New York, Levi arrived in Gold Rush San Francisco where he set up a wholesale business. In 1873 he and Latvian immigrant Jacob Davis patented the first riveted denim pants for working men: the first blue jeans. Levi helped create modern San Francisco through business and philanthropy, and was a mainstay of the city’s Jewish community. Lynn Downey, author of the definitive book on Levi Strauss will present this story. Lynn Downey was the Levi Strauss & Co. historian for nearly 25 years

June 2017 Program

Art, Glamour, And Politics: The Early Years Of The San Francisco International Film Festival 
Miguel Pendás
June 13, 2017 - 7:30 PM

In 1957 movie theater operator and film aficionado Irving Levin got the idea of starting an international film festival in our cosmopolitan town. In spite of meager funding and a cold shoulder from Hollywood, the festival inspired tumultuous citywide debate and became a smashing success.

In its 60th anniversary year, film festival historian Miguel Pendás tells the dramatic story of how the longest-running film festival in the Americas came into being, using photos and film clips that made the festival one of the most respected in the world.

Miguel Pendás was the creative director of the SFIFF for nearly 20 years. He is now a freelance writer and editor who contributes to SFIFF and other festivals. He is a member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.